Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 93, 1892

Brethren and Sisters in Battle Creek

North Fitzroy, Australia

January 21, 1892

Portions of this letter are published in GCB 4th Qtr 1896.

To the Brethren and Sisters in Battle Creek, and to all who need these words: 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 1

Be exceedingly cautious in every move you make. Do not spoil everything the Lord has been doing for you, showing that you are lacking in sound, solid principles. I wrote out some things for you on this line before leaving Battle Creek, but I can not find it now, so I write this to warn you concerning your danger. Satan has thrown many off the track, even while they were earnestly engaged in seeking for more faith and in exercising it for others, for they were led into extremes both in precept and action. The enemy has been on the watch for an opportunity to lead men to the exhibition of this very fanaticism. (In the exercises of Elder E. R. Jones, an element was apparent that would unbalance the minds of those who were not looking to the Lord for his counsel.) 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 2

Wherever prayer is made for the sick, Satan seeks to wedge himself in, that some inconsistency may appear. There is but one way in which I can pray for the sick. I can present the case of the afflicted one to God and say, “Jesus, you understand all about this case. If it is for the good of this soul, and for the glory of Thy name, raise this brother or sister to health.” I leave the case in God’s hands, and this is the only way in which I can pray for the afflicted. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 3

Before I left Battle Creek, questions were raised as to whether the Lord should not be entrusted with the cases of the afflicted, and whether there was any need of sanitariums if this were done. But it is not God’s way to abolish these agencies. On several occasions, Jesus worked miracles to feed the hungry multitude, but because He could furnish them with food in a miraculous way, they did not receive the impression from His teachings that they were to put forth no effort to provide the necessities of life. Through this means He was seeking to impart to the multitude the spiritual truths which were of vital importance to their souls’ salvation. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 4

If the Lord heals the sick in answer to prayer, it is not a sign that our institutions for the benefit of the suffering should be abolished. The Lord will not always work miracles to keep people alive. They are to be placed where they can have the benefit of hygienic living and treatment, and these agencies must not be despised. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 5

I have been shown that the path of presumption lies right along side of the path of faith; and influenced by the suggestions of the enemy, men and women will be in danger of calling presumption faith. All these faith spasms which result in making the professed followers of Christ act in an unreasonable way and do inconsistent things, are not the exercise of genuine faith, but the outworking of presumption. Brethren and sisters, do not travel in that pathway. The Lord would do much more for his people if they would walk in accordance with His Word, and not open the door to the suggestions of the enemy. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 6

The mine of truth has been discovered, and precious ore has been brought to light from beneath the rubbish of human opinions, and these heavenly treasures are to enrich the soul. The righteousness of Christ is the great treasure that demands our study, that is to be appropriated to the soul. Satan has dealt heavy strokes, that these precious gems of truth should be hidden from our eyes. It has been his purpose all along to keep the world in darkness concerning the character of God, and he has represented Him to men as being clothed with his own satanic character, but the Lord has declared His character as “merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth.” [Exodus 34:6.] 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 7

When the Lord let His glory pass before Moses, he proclaimed His goodness and love. The shaft of truth is yet to sink deeper into God’s inexhaustible Word. Hidden treasures are yet to be discovered, precious treasures are yet to reward the diligent laborer. But while the Lord is to display his treasures to our souls, the enemy will not be idle. At every step of advancement, he will seek to throw men off the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. He will bring to the front extreme positions, and advance unreasonable opinions, so as to bring fanaticism among the people of God. All this is to hinder the working of the mine of truth. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 8

We have no time now for unreasonable movements. Either the Lord has been leading us or He has not. Either He has been planning for us in the establishment of schools, in the building of offices of publication, in the erection of institutions for the treatment of the sick or He has not. We are to be engaged in the work the Lord has left for us to do in fitting a people to stand in the great day of the Lord, and having done all to stand. At this time heaven is full of activity. The angels of God are at work, seeking to impress minds through the living human agents, that the great work may be accomplished; and those who yield to the heavenly intelligences and become channels for the heavenly light will be rewarded of the Lord. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 9

Some one has said that there is no more need of schools, for the Bible has said, “They shall all be taught of God.” [John 6:45.] Yes, the Lord will teach us, but it will be through His appointed means, for He has given “some, apostles; some, prophets; and some, evangelists; some, pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, unto the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:11-13.] The teaching is to continue, the work of caring for the sick is to go on till the close of time. The Lord has His appointed, human agencies, and they work in harmony with Christ in saving the souls of men. The work is not to contrast, but to broaden and widen till the close of this world’s history. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 10

In the last discourse of Christ to His disciples, He tells them how they shall be fitted up for the great work before them by the endowment of the Holy Spirit. A vast tract of truth, new to them, but known to Christ from the beginning as old and original truth, is presented before their minds all fertilized and enriched by the influence of the Holy Spirit. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 11

Just before His ascension, He comforts them with the promise that they shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days after His departure to the courts above. But even while He was telling them of the heavenly gift that was to prepare them to go forth as laborers together with Him for the salvation of men, they asked, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom unto Israel?” But the Lord answered, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” [Acts 1:4-8.] 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 12

The office work of the Spirit of God is to qualify men to become teachers. The Holy Spirit might be given to all men to teach them, but God does not work in that way. The Lord works through human agencies. “Ye are my witnesses,” saith the Lord. [Isaiah 43:10.] God sends men and women to instruct and educate others, and to preach to the world the tidings of the gospel. Not until the work of our great High Priest is done in the heavenly sanctuary will our work be done. The work of teaching will go on, the care of the sick will rest upon us, and institutions will be needed for the treatment of the afflicted, and means will be required for the extension of the knowledge of the glorious gospel of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, until a people shall be found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, standing blameless before heaven, and prepared for the great day of the Lord. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 13

The present duty of every true child of God is to wait patiently, to watch vigilantly, to work faithfully, until the coming of the Lord, that we may be prepared for the solemn event. The characteristics of the true follower of Christ, the perfect man in Christ Jesus, will be manifested in working, watching, and waiting for the Lord. He will not be wholly given up to contemplation and meditation, or be so engrossed in some busy works that he will neglect the exercise of personal piety, but in the symmetrical Christian, personal devotion will be blended with earnest work, and the follower of Christ will be “not slothful in business,” but “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] The lamps must be kept trimmed and burning, that they may send forth bright rays of light into the moral darkness of the world. Every facility must be brought into play so that spiritual declension may not take place and that the note of warning may be sounded, lest the day of the Lord overtake you as a thief in the night. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 14

The Lord is soon coming, and for this very reason we need our schools, not that we may be educated after the order of the world, but that our institutions of learning may be more like the schools of the prophets, places where we may learn the will of God, and reach to the very highest branches of science, that we may better understand God and His works and the character of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. The Lord requires that there shall be faithful work done in His household day by day. The people of God must be gaining more and more skill and experience, for there will be increased work for all, and especially for men in positions of trust. As we near the end, Satan will be moved to make a desperate effort to overthrow all those who dispute his claim to supreme authority on earth, and the people of God must be prepared for the struggle. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 15

God requires the full exercise of all the ability He has given to man, that they may do to the extent of their natural and cultivated powers, all that is possible for them to do. Every agency is to be quickened, that the great work may be accomplished. We must work with an intensity that we have never felt before. No man can leave his post of duty without betraying sacred trusts, without endangering the salvation of his own soul and the souls of others. You are to be true to your entrusted work, and not to be seeking after something new and strange. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 16

As Christ opened before the disciples the great work that was to be done, and promised to them the gift of the Holy Spirit, they were anxious to know if they should then see the fulfillment of their long-cherished hope. They asked, “Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The Lord rebuked their curiosity, and said, “It is not for you to know the times, and the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” [Acts 1:6, 7.] There was one thing that they might understand, and that was that they were to receive power after that the Holy Ghost should come upon them, and that they were to be witnesses of Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 17

All this itching curiosity to know the set time is rebuked. This has not been given to man to know; and we are not to feel anxious about these things which the Lord has never committed to us, but has kept in His own possession, unrevealed. But the endowment of His Spirit is for us; this we may confidently expect, and freely receive, for we can do nothing for the salvation of souls without this heavenly agency. Because of the shortness of human life, every event should be made an occasion for enriching souls with the truths of the gospel. As time is fast closing, we should keep before the mind the spirituality of the law, and the utter worthlessness of a formal ceremonial obedience of the commandments, involved in a legal religion. The eternal principles of truth should be extolled. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 18

The holy and paternal character of God should be presented to men. Our obligation in our daily actions should be laid bare, that we may understand our relation to God and to each other, for we are to watch for souls as they who must give an account. We must present to the people, not the imaginations of men, not their schemes and conclusions, but the grace of God in the gift of His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. We are to lift up Jesus, that He may draw men unto Himself. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 19

How hard it is for Christ to get the correct idea of the spiritual nature of His kingdom into the minds of His disciples. How hard for them to realize the necessity of constant prayer, of sincere repentance, of attaining to more and more perfection of character, which is the salt of Christian experience and the evidence of the operation of the Holy Spirit on the heart. The Holy Spirit is to enlighten, renew, and sanctify the soul. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 20

If it is possible, Satan will cause that the professors of religion shall be borne off on some tangent of fanaticism, that they may take extreme positions and bring reproach on the cause of the Master; and then how he exults, for he can present to the world the inconsistency of those who claim to be led by Christ, and charge their wild and inconsistent positions and measures upon the truth which they believe. “Here,” says the enemy, “is what results from believing the doctrines of Seventh-day Adventists. See their inconsistency!” The soul needs to be guarded by the strongest fortifications. The knowledge of the Scriptures must preserve the soul in its balance by supplying the mind with solid principles of faith and truth. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 21

The Lord is coming. “Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh.” [Matthew 25:13.] The warning has been given, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” [Isaiah 40:3], and it is to be given until every one who professes to be a follower of Christ shall be called upon to sound the note of warning and invitation. The half-hearted Christian needs to awake, and put the armor on. But while we are to let our light shine before men, we are not to erect false lights to mislead the soul. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 22

All are to be sound in the faith, not vacillating and uncertain, not allowing their imaginations to lead them into forbidden paths until their own faith is unsettled and others are confused by their spasmodic experiences, for those who follow their imagination are first in the fire and then in the water; but make your movements with deliberation, with candor, considering the subject from all sides, lest you may be led into some inconsistency and souls be turned from the truth in consequence. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 23

Let every one now do his duty, laboring actively with Jesus Christ. Represent Jesus by your example of Christian piety, that the grace of Christ may appear as it is—beautiful, attractive, harmonious, and always consistent. A life beautified with holiness is not a life of idle contemplation, but a life filled up with earnest work for the Master, whose light shineth more and more unto the perfect day. As Seventh-day Adventists, we have a work to do in witnessing for Christ. If indeed the Lord is coming, it is time to sell what ye have and give alms. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 24

It is time to put your money out to the exchangers, time to place every dollar you can spare into the treasury of the Lord, that institutions may be erected for the education of workers who shall be instructed as were those who attended the school of the prophets. If the Lord comes and finds you doing this kind of work, He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:23.] The spell that enthralls minds, and makes them bond-servants of Satan, must be broken. Christ’s lessons must be enforced, they must be impressed upon the mind and heart. On young and old should come a realization of the great love wherewith He has loved us. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 25

We have none too many institutions. Let your means be used to create, rather than have your influence used to diminish, these agencies for good. Let no one yield to the suggestions of the enemy of all righteousness and think that, because we are near the end of all things, we can have faith and have all our infirmities removed, and that there is no need for institutions for the recovery of health. Faith and works are not dissevered. If the Lord is soon to come, begin to act decidedly and determinedly, and with intense interest to increase the facilities, that a great work may be done in a short time. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 26

Those who have been allied to the world should heed the invitation of the Lord. He says, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] For “though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.” [Psalm 68:13.] The bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness are to shine upon you, that you may be beautified with holiness. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 27

Shall we now say there is no need of facilities? that faith is all we need? Genuine faith is a working principle, and works will appear as a proof of this agent in the soul. You should redouble your efforts, redouble your working forces. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 28

Fathers and mothers, make haste. Your children are to be objects of your solicitude. Principles are to be kept before your children that will exert a heavenly influence over life and character. By every means at your command, you are to teach them that they are not to pattern after the world’s plan of education, but the truth must be impressed upon their hearts and minds. The truths that Satan had concealed by his hellish shadow, the truths he had misinterpreted and misapplied and disconnected from the Lord of glory, are to be reset, opened and explained, and made to appear in their heavenly beauty, to be seen as truths that shall stand fast forever. They are to be re-established in the minds of men by the living agents whom God hath appointed, and error is to be revealed in its true character by the light of truth. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 29

The Lord Jesus has moved upon human minds, that they may become his living agents to do a special work in recovering the old truths from their old forms, that they may rid them of the traditions and maxims of men and give them to the world in their native purity, in their original splendor, freshness and force. This is our work, brethren and sisters, in this waiting, watching time. Look at the picture that is drawn of the faithful and wise steward. The Lord says, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom the Lord hath made ruler over his household?” [Matthew 24:45.] 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 30

The Son of Man is represented as one taking a far journey, who gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work. Do we comprehend this? Do we act upon it? Do we realize that to every one of us is given a work to do? The work is not all left to those who hold official position, nor to the ministers; but to every member of the church, Christ has given his work. There are to be no indolent ones, and yet how many ignore all spiritual responsibility. There are do-nothings. The pages of the book of God reveal a mournful blank. They are trees in the vineyard of the Lord, but they bear no fruit; they are cumberers of the ground. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 31

I was shown the danger that will threaten the church because one here and there will be rising up, proclaiming that they have new light. They may be persons who have been regarded as humble Christians, and very conscientious in all their doings, but they do not have a good conscience. Reason and common sense are laid aside, and they become fanatical. Religious fanatics will certainly appear among us, and they will cause much care and much grief to those who have the honor of the cause of God at heart. They will not consider it their duty to counsel with their brethren. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 32

There is danger on every side, danger of restricting operations for the benefit of the church and the world, and danger of carrying these operations too far. There is danger of establishing schools at a large outlay of means, when, if these matters were prayerfully considered, they would see that it was not wise to go to so great an expense. For in building on so large a scale, heavy demands must be made on the conference, loans must be secured from every available source, and a great burden must be laid upon the cause to carry through the enterprise. This means that other projects of as great importance cannot be carried along in equal proportion. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 33

There is a great need of sanctified judgment in order that the work of God shall advance to occupy the many fields that are opening for its entrance. A large work is to be carried forward in our world, and in no one place should there be a large expenditure of means and ability when it will cut off the building up of interests that are equally important. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 34

In all the work of building our institutions, the superscription of the Master should be seen, and not the mold of man. It is a mistake for an enterprise of this character to be carried forward in such a way that a large debt is accumulated. The managers of these interests greatly need the endowment of the Holy Spirit in order that, through the influence of ambition, they may not be led to do some great thing and swallow up a great proportion of the means that should be more widely distributed. It is not in God’s order that one interest should be strengthened while another is left to languish and die. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 35

There is great need of taking wide, extended views of the work, and then of carefully computing the means, that one interest may not flourish at the expense of another. There is need of so dividing the means that it will meet proportionately all the necessities in every direction. Human pride is to have no encouragement in these enterprises. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 36

A great work must be done all through the world, and let no one flatter himself that because the end is near, there is no need of making special efforts to build up the various institutions as the cause shall demand. You are not to know the day or the hour of the Lord’s appearing, for this has not been revealed, and let no one with an ingenious mind endeavor to seek out such a matter and speculate on that which has not been given them to understand; but let every one work upon that which has been placed in his hands, doing the daily duties that God requires. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 37

The Lord has entrusted His servants with His household goods, with the investment of His capital, and He expects them to be diligent and active, looking out for the interests of His kingdom. All are to be workers; but the heaviest burden of responsibility rests upon those who have the greatest talent, the largest means, the most abundant opportunity. We are to be justified by faith and judged by our works. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 38

When the Lord shall bid us lay off the armor, and to make no further effort to establish schools, to build institutions for the care of the sick, for the shelter of the orphans, the homeless, and for the comfort of the worn-out ministers, it will be time to fold our hands and let the Lord close up the work. But now it is our opportunity to show our zeal for God, our love for humanity. The church is now militant, not triumphant. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 39

The members of the church are to invest every particle of physical, intellectual, and moral vigor that they possess, that they may be wise stewards of the manifold gifts of God. With the light shining upon our pathway, who will dare to trifle with his moral responsibility? Happy are those who, from the very beginning of their religious life, make a surrender of themselves and their all to God, and are true to the unerring dictates of the Spirit of God. Happy are they who make Christ and Him crucified, their only hope. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 40

Close the door, block the way, to the advancement of the spiritual upbuilding of the Master’s kingdom, and piety wanes. Men and women deprived of helping others become straightened, bigoted, unsympathetic and hard, because they become self-centered, engaged in their own personal affairs. It is because of the Lord’s mercy that men are permitted to have a part in the work of salvation and be co-laborers together with Christ in caring for the souls for whom He died. It is by engaging in this work that we are enabled to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 41

If we are Christlike, we shall be large of heart and sympathetic in disposition. We are to become identified with our Saviour in all His plans, triumph in His victory, and share in His glory at last. We are to be partners in the work of God in all parts of the world; wherever there are souls to be saved, we are to lend our help, that many sons and daughters may be brought to God. Christians cannot neglect this great work and be guiltless before God. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 42

The end is near, and for this reason, we are to make the most of every entrusted ability and every agency that shall offer help to the work. The workers for God, in the field or at home, are to be self-denying, bearing the cross, restricting their personal wants, that they may be abundant in good fruits. Those who prize the light of saving, precious truth, will not hesitate in regard to doing their God-given duty, but will gather up the rays of divine light, that they may diffuse them to those that are in darkness. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 43

Time is short, and we have not a moment to lose. The “Pitcairn” has been fitted up to visit the islands of the sea and bear the message that God would have the people hear in these far-off places. If this vessel should meet with accident, or become unseaworthy, there would be an immediate call for means that another vessel might go forth to do this work. There is need that every man, woman, and child employed in our institutions should carry a burden for the souls of those who are in darkness. By the means of ships, more can be done for the salvation of souls than has been done. There is a class for whom little is being done, and that is the seamen. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 44

Schools must be established, that the youth may be educated, that those engaged in the work of the ministry may reach higher attainments in the knowledge of the Bible and the sciences. Institutions for the treatment of the sick must be established in foreign lands, and medical missionaries must be raised up who will be self-denying, who will lift the cross, who will be prepared to fill positions of trust and be able to educate others. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 45

And besides all this, God calls for home missionaries. Let every soul deny self, lift the cross, and expend far less means for the gratification of self, that there may be living, working agents in all the churches. A faith that comprehends less than this is one that denies the Christian character. The faith of the gospel is one whose power and grace are of divine Authorship. 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 46

Then let us make it manifest that Christ abides in us, by ceasing to expend money on dress, on needless things, when the cause of Christ is crippled for want of means, when debts are left unpaid on our meetinghouses, and the treasury is empty. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] Shall we not follow the example of Him who for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich? 7LtMs, Lt 93, 1892, par. 47